City of Duluth Spent $1.6 Million on Water Main Breaks, Leaks In 2021
According to Duluth's Chief Engineer for Utilities, Eric Shaffer in 2021 the City of Duluth spent roughly $1.6 million, fixing 103 water main breaks and 88 leaks.
DULUTH, Minn.- Water main breaks in the City of Duluth this year have not only been gushing out water but they’ve been forcing the city to gush out money for repairs.
According to Duluth’s Chief Engineer for Utilities, Eric Shaffer in 2021 the City of Duluth spent roughly $1.6 million, fixing 103 water main breaks and 88 leaks.
The record for breaks was 195 back in 2002.
He says the simple explanation — the city’s over 400 miles of pipes are old.
While the oldest pipes from the 1890s are thick and in good condition, the thinner cast iron pipes from the 19-50s and 60s break more easily with corrosion.
“When the frost goes down in January and February it moves the pipe once, Shaffer said. “When the frost starts to come back out now with this warmer weather in March and April the pipes can move a second time. And as a result, most of our breaks in the common year are between March and April.”
“Unfortunately there’s just a limited number of funding available,” he said. “But as we bring the money in we’ll put it all the back into the water system. We’ll do the best we can to keep the water on 24 hours a day.”
Shaffer says they’ve been attacking areas of bigger concern like around 36th Avenue East, and Raleigh Street.
He said they try to stay on top of all breaks first, but because they don’t want to raise water prices more than they already have, funding is limited.